RESILIENCE: RE-Finding The Strong

Meredith Kessler  > Blog >  RESILIENCE: RE-Finding The Strong

First things first, I want to personally congratulate Heather Wurtele on an amazing Ironman St. George win to make her a 3 X Ironman Champion. Heather tackled that heat, that course and those conditions with grace, confidence and whit; she could not be more worthy of the victory.

Special congratulations also goes to Jackie and Uli for rounding out the top 3 in this world class Ironman competition. Lastly, to fellow purplepatcher, Jessica Smith, who was the TOP amateur female in addition to placing 4th OVERALL among the women. A HUGE accomplishment and your journey is only beginning my dear! We are all so proud of you.

I was fortunate enough to attempt my 40th Ironman distance this past weekend in St. George. Each Ironman being a feat, I went into this particular one the MOST ready in all capacities. I was really looking forward to a great day and was genuinely excited to be a part of it all. I was gearing up to “FIND MY STRONG” and I had so many things that would fuel me to the finish, preferably in a favorable place.

The swim was gorgeous, un-choppy and a perfect temperature. I swam 100% SOLO in between the 1st and 2nd pack coming out in 2nd behind Jodie (who is amazing might I add). I felt vibrant and was ready to tackle the bike. Things were rolling along and all was gravy.

The bike is truly breathtaking. The wind was tolerable, the hills felt JUST right and I was enjoying the ride (as much as you can when racing an Ironman) in 2nd place until about mile 90 ish when Heather caught up. In typical MBK fashion, I annoyingly lurked behind her legally for about 10 miles before she just GUNNED it around mile 105. Heather REALLY knows that course and it worked to her advantage as she knew when to hustle and hum and when to be more conservative. AGAIN, very smart of her. We started the run about 90 seconds apart and at this point, I thought it was going to be a full on foot race to the finish. I had been MOST prepared for the marathon and had been pumped all day to get to that part.

When I got to the run, my whole world sort of just FLASHED in front of me. IT WAS SUDDEN. I don’t really have any excuses to list for you, nor would I even if I did. I was cramping at mile 2 (feet, legs, back, arms) and could feel my ‘mind’ starting to fade away. I went into emergency mode with calories and finally found some salt around mile 13..but it was just too late, I was too far in the WELL.   I was not PRESENT and unfortunately…there wasn’t even an opportunity to find that COMPOSURE I was speaking of previously as the next thing I knew I had passed out like a light, literally, @ mile 22 no less.  In 2nd place.  EEKS, I know, 22—as in 4 miles to go– I know! SHOOT. I woke up in the emergency room with 6 IV’s down the hatch. Whelp, guess I was a bit dehydrated. That dry heat can be deceiving and my normal 55 degree San Francisco training weather did not have me fully primed in that.  Something to think about moving forward.

In my 39 previous Ironmans, I have always rallied to the finish line no matter what. That is how I know that it was truly MEANT TO BE that I did not make it to this one…(nor did my expensive gel manicure = both an utter disappointment!)

My outlook on this is quite simple: THESE THINGS HAPPEN! As we say here in purplepatch: Ironman is a journey, not just a day. I will learn from this BLIP far more than I would had I had the race of my life. SURE, of course this was not IDEAL on any level but am I going to mope about it? GOOD GRAVY NO. I am overjoyed with an amazing life filled with priceless people that I don’t take for granted. This one race is not going to define me but instead I will LEARN from it which ultimately will make me a better athlete, person and coach. Thus, this is a win win situation in the long run.

The outpour of concern and genuine care from so many has been overwhelming in the best way possible. THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH. I LOVE YOU ALL SO DEARLY. I’m so fortunate too to have had fellow pros reach out (some I haven’t even met personally) just to check in and/or share their similar stories and encouraging words. When I came home from St. George late Sunday night, I sat down to my computer in my post 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 22 mile run haze (surprisingly even 4 miles shy of a full Ironman, I still feel the wrath!) and the best thing I could have seen in that moment was Hillary Biscay’s words:

Thank you again Hills, this meant the world to me.

Most importantly, hip hip hooray to the GCM for his 2nd place finish…so amazing…so proud of him too!

To Ak, purplepatch,my family and friends: I’m so lucky that you guys love me whether I get first, last or DNF!

To my sponsors: Thank you for your continued support, concern and understanding. More importantly, thank you for knowing that this was just a small crushed grape in a big vibrant vineyard.

This is NOT the beginning of something worse, but the beginning of something better!

We’ll Re-find the strong, it’s ALL about RESILIENCE.

SO in the words of the great Jay-Z…ON TO THE NEXT ONE…ON TO THE NEXT ONE!

We’ll see you in CDA…another try at # 40! For now, it’s JT’s wedding time…Napa here we come!!!!